Monday, April 29, 2024

Out of Character

Every once in a while it's fun to try something completely different.

While it doesn't happen often, I do get an urge to make a pair of pants from time to time.  But I just don't love the way I look in a pair of pants, and I haven't had a huge amount of success with the limited amount of experience that I have sewing my own trousers.

This time around I used a vintage pattern instead of a reproduction.

And overall, I think that the pattern was fairly successful for me.  Sure, the legs are slightly more wide than I expected, and my choice of a mid-weight fabric with some mechanical stretch was probably not the most ideal choice . . .

But they are definitely wearable.

Will I be rejecting skirts and dresses from now on?  Of course not!

I do think it might be fun to play with the fit of these now that I know the waist, hip, and rise work fairly well for me.  I would like to narrow the lower part of the legs and see how I like that silhouette.

Will I get around to doing that anytime soon?  Probably not.

I have a penchant for making Summer appropriate dresses, and now that we have had some nice weather, I am raring to go with a few cotton sundresses.

But I could see making another pair of these in a wool suiting when Winter rolls around again.  

I am not going to hold myself to that, but I do have a nice black pinstripe wool that would make a classic trouser.

Sweater:  Made by me, "Vanilla Bean Turtleneck"
Trousers:  Made by me, Butterick 6592
Earrings:  Liz Palacios
Shoes:  Sam Edelman

Sunday, April 21, 2024


Well, now I've gone and done it!  I made a pair of pants in December.  The idea popped into my head last Fall, and I finally got around to it a few months later.

To be fair, I have made myself two other pairs of pants over the last 20 years, and while they were vintage reproduction patterns, they just didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, and they really don't see any wear.

This time around, I decided that I would give an actual vintage pattern a try to see if I had more luck.

One of the main issues I have with pants is that I have a long torso, and this affects the fit.  I have heard people complain that the rise of vintage pattern is way too long, so I figured that would be perfect for me.  I also suspected that the fit through the hip might be more generous, which would also be helpful for the extra fluff that I store in that area.  Of course, the only real way to see if this pattern would work is to make up a muslin, which I did.

In the end, I added 1" of extra length between the waist and legs.  The only other modification was to remove a small wedge from the waistline at the center back for a slight swayback adjustment since I notice a bit of folded fabric there on the muslin mock-up.

I decided to stabilize the pocket opening on the front pieces since they are cut along the bias.  The cotton sateen with spandex has fairly good recovery, but I figured that this wouldn't hurt anything, so I went ahead and added it.

I found it interesting that the pattern suggested opening the seam allowances.  I am so used to seeing pants with a serged edge, and I thought that I had seen instructions suggesting reinforcement of the crotch seamline with an extra line of stitching.  Of course, these are more of an easy fitting pant, so that's probably not necessary.

I did finish my raw edges with seam binding.  These cotton spandex mid-weights always surprise me when the edges start to fray.

As for the hem, I had just under two yards of this fabric, which was not quite enough.  I decided to move forward with the project anyway, and had to cut the hem along the foldline instead of the cutting line.

Well, the pants turned out to be plenty long.  It probably had something to do with the extra inch that I added to the length up at the top of the pattern pieces.  But anyway, I got lucky that my minimal yardage worked out fine in the end.

The waistband went together easily.  And while side zippers are not usually my favorite option, I decided to go with it, and this particular side zip isn't bothering me as much as I anticipated.

After a bit of hand finishing, the only thing left was the buttonhole.

The directions suggest hand working the buttonhole, but I went with my vintage attachment.

If I use this pattern again, I think I will try out a hand stitched buttonhole.  I haven't done one of those in a while, and it would be good practice.

Has this pattern convinced me to start wearing pants on a daily basis?  Not quite.  But I am glad that I stretched myself a bit and tried something completely different.  I do think that I will try this pattern again using a wool suiting to see if I like the silhouette a bit more in a drapey fabric.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Elegant Comfort

I suppose the question is, does this dress look exactly like the velvet version?

And yes, it's pretty obvious, right down to coordinating color stories. 

But honestly, I don't mind having two of these dresses in my wardrobe.

What I found interesting is that I didn't notice that extra length just above the back waist with that velvet fabric.

If I look really, really closely at the photos of the velvet dress, I can see a small bit of wrinkling, but that might be due to the rotation or angle of my body.  It could also have something to do with the fact that the velvet fabric is slightly more slick than the interior of this sweater knit.

I don't work with knit fabrics all that often, and I did contemplate doing a flat back adjustment or a swayback adjustment, but decided that since there was no waist level seamline, it would be unnecessary.

Seeing these photos, perhaps one of those alterations would improve the wrinkling at the back waist.  Then again, maybe I'm overthinking it.

Because this really is an incredibly comfortable and easy to wear dress, and I am certainly happy to have it in my closet, with or without a few fit wrinkles.

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 1907
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Vince Camuto "Alinkay" Boot 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Sweater Knits

This is the first version of Vogue 1907 that I made.  I decided that it was time to try this pattern that had caught my attention as soon as it was released before I got distracted by something new and shiny.  It feels a bit late in the season to post a sweater knit, long sleeved garment . . . then again, it was hailing and cold two days ago so I am going to call this seasonally appropriate!

This particular sweater knit had been taking up a whole lot of space in my sewing room for at least 9 or 10 years.  I have pulled it out a few times, but it never seemed like the right project for the fabric - I think it was waiting for this dress pattern.  I used the same fabrication in a slightly different color back in 2011 to make the Vogue dupe of the Roland Mouret "Galaxy" dress.  Although this fabric is a knit, I just used it in place of a woven, including lining it with a bemberg rayon.

This time around, I figured the textile deserved to be used as it was originally intended . . . as a knit.  Part of my reservation about the fabric was that the wrong side of the fabric just seemed odd to me, and my first inclination was to cover it up with a lining.  It's not scratchy or uncomfortable, it just feels very different than the brushed side of the fabric.

One thing to note with this design is that the bodice pieces are very short.  I added a bit of length and I am glad that I did.

Other than that modification, I did shorten the sleeve length significantly.  In the end, I probably shouldn't have done this quite as much as I did.  The fact that the puffed sleeve is set slightly in from the edge of the shoulder made me think that it was drafted extra long, but it's not.

And here is another project that allowed me to use my serger.  I don't use this machine very much, so it feels good to give it a bit of a workout every once in a while.

Because of the look of the fabric, I decided to hand hem both the skirt hemline as well as the sleeve.  I think that a strong topstitched line would have looked odd.

The final adjustment that I made was to lengthen the collar by one inch.  I didn't love the look of the collar on the pattern envelope and so I wanted to have just a bit more fabric to drape along the neckline so the collar didn't look chintzy.  It's not a huge change, but I am happy that I decided to make that adjustment.  

Other than a couple of minor changes to the pattern pieces, this project went together very easily.

The pattern is given the "Very Easy" rating, and I tend to agree.  This dress goes together with a minimal amount of effort but looks quite put together.

It's also extremely easy to wear, so I believe that this garment will be a popular choice on those colder days when I can't be bothered to spend any time getting ready but need to look presentable.  I would absolutely recommend this pattern and frankly, I'm not sure why more people aren't making this one!

Monday, April 1, 2024

Cold Weather Knits in Pastels

The weather around these parts can't seem to make up its mind if Spring has sprung, or if the wet and cold weather isn't quite finished with us.

We had a few really lovely days a couple of weeks ago which felt like a tease now that the rain and wind has returned.  

I suppose that gives me some more opportunities to wear my wooly sweaters, but I am really ready for the warmer weather at this point. 

Then again, I am currently working on a wool coat, so make that make sense!  That may come to an end soon, however, as I don't have a suitable lining on hand, and I am starting to crave more Spring and Summer appropriate projects.

As for this skirt, I am very happy to have it in the wardrobe.  It's easy to wear, and who couldn't use another classic black wool skirt?!

I did underline this piece, and I was slightly concerned that the wool seam allowances might be itchy, however, I haven't noticed them, so I am going to call that a win.

I am still not completely sold on the high waistband (which you can't see here).  I think I just prefer to have my skirts hit at the waist, so that is not the fault of the design.

As for the sweater, it may not be all that exciting, but it is a great, easy to wear staple that got me through the Winter months.

I do need to remember to add more pastels to the cold weather appropriate side of the closet, because it really is nice to have a brighter option to pair with all of the dark moody pieces that lend themselves to Winter weather.

Or maybe it's just my love of anything in the turquoise color family that makes me such a fan of this simple sweater.

Sweater:  Made by me, "Cherie" by Kim Hargreaves
Skirt:  Made by me, Vogue 1961
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Nine West